Leading female selector Hannah Wants wants a chat with Epigram, and how could we refuse? As one of the UK’s top house DJs (female or otherwise), Ms Wants is flying the flag for British house both at home and overseas. Fresh from her newly conceptualised (and sold-out) PLAY tour, Theana Gregoriou asks what Hannah wants from our country’s ever-threatened nightlife scene?
Living in Bristol, we’re lucky enough to be able to see some of the best DJs from around the world in the flesh, and this often includes one of the biggest names in UK house. Hannah Wants has been a key player in the electronic music scene for years, mixing up a well-tried blend of house and heavy bass. Currently, she’s touring the UK and Ireland with her new concept PLAY which combines her club favourites and her developing style of dance music.
[Bristol is] special I don’t think anyone can argue with that. It’s up there in the top cities to rave in the UK!
Bristol is the last stop on her tour before her hometown of Birmingham, so I was curious of what she thought of Bristol’s music scene. “It’s special I don’t think anyone can argue with that. It’s up there in the top cities to rave in the UK!”
She cites Motion as her favourite venue in the city, explaining “The crowd are always great and the line-ups are really diverse! Motion is also an amazing space and during a time where iconic clubbing venues are struggling against councils, the skate park is something for the city to be proud of!”
As PLAY showcases her progression as an artist, I was interested to find out how Hannah defined her music’s style: “I’d describe my sound as bass-heavy house music. I started out playing speed garage and UK garage and so my early rave and DJ’s days have definitely developed my love for a nice low-end!”
I dunno what it was, it was just one of those mad fate kinda moments. At that moment I didn’t know much about the scene, other artists or even the art of DJ’ing as I was an underage new raver, but I’ve always had a huge passion for music.
Being one of the children of the garage generation, it’s no surprise that it played a role in her musical journey, but it wasn’t until Hannah’s first club experience that she realised her intentions of being a DJ: “I knew I wanted to be a DJ the second I walked into a club and saw a selector working a dance floor. I dunno what it was, it was just one of those mad fate kinda moments. At that moment I didn’t know much about the scene, other artists or even the art of DJ’ing as I was an underage new raver, but I’ve always had a huge passion for music.”
Since then, house has been gaining increasing recognition both in the underground music scene and in mainstream music channels. Hannah’s own ‘Rhymes’ made the UK top 10 in 2015, the same year she gained her Radio 1 Residency. However, while she’s noticed the increasing popularity of house, Hannah has a refreshing perspective choosing to not let it take away from her own unique style. She explains, “I’ve obviously noticed the growth in popularity with certain tracks crossing over to more mainstream avenues such as Radio 1 daytime playlists etc., but it’s not something I sit and think about to be honest. It is what it is… everything is always evolving and changing and so I just keep my head focused on what I’m doing.”
After learning about all her experiences as a DJ, I was keen to know what Hannah felt the biggest moment in her career. “Getting my residency at Amnesia was definitely a pinch me moment. I’ve just announced a residency there for the fourth year running and this year is the biggest and best yet! I’ve learned so much over the years. My first season as resident was the closing set in the mainly drum & bass main room and I learned a lot and very quickly! This year I’m in the terrace which is just a dream to play!”
Now that PLAY is coming to a close, Hannah’s going across the pond to bring her music to the US. “I have a pretty hectic year ahead but that’s the way I like it. After my UK and Ireland tour I will be heading straight to America for 14 gigs across four weeks ending up at Coachella which I’m so excited about!”
If California is too far to travel to get your Hannah Wants fix, don’t worry; she promises that there’s more music in the works, saying, “In terms of new material I’ve been working on lots over the past few months and I’ve been road testing and tweaking stuff through my tour dates. I’m excited to release some new music in 2017 – hold tight!”
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